Peer Support Group Facilitator Volunteer – Abbotsford, BC
Wendy Schilka volunteers at the CNIB Foundation in Abbotsford as a facilitator for the Peer Support Group twice a month. This experience has inspired her – at the age of 64 – to go back to university to get her degree in counseling.
Wendy's insights as a person with sight loss help her to support participants in their own journeys with blindness or partial sight. She helps friends and families of clients to recognize the grief associated with a loss of sight.
Wendy says, “I find it very beneficial for the spouses to come in and talk, because it impacts them too. The thing is that with spouses and family members, they don’t recognize that they are also grieving. They don’t feel like they have the right to, since it’s not them. They don’t realize that what happens to your spouse or family member impacts you too. This is a way for me to reach those people, and by doing that, it helps the individuals in the groups.”
She knows firsthand what it's like. In 2005, Wendy experienced a bacterial infection, in which she went from some vision to no vision within four hours.
“Life is a rose garden. It's beautiful, but full of thorns," says Wendy. "So when I go through difficult times, I am reminded that I can do it. With that, I’ve always been more of an optimist. I believe when there’s a will, there’s a way. If you want something bad enough, you’ll figure it out."
Wendy also volunteers as a CNIB ambassador, doing public speaking at senior homes and community events.
When asked why she volunteers with CNIB, Wendy says “Giving back. These services have been there for me when I needed them, and it’s nice to know when you need something, it’s there.”
If Wendy’s story inspires you to consider volunteering for your local CNIB Foundation, fill out the application form below.